Saturday, January 06, 2007

Democrats not off to a stellar start.

While I am not sure what was the greatest single factor which led voters to put the Democrats back in power in both houses of Congress, I do know that a major factor was the appropriately termed "culture of corruption" which has as it basis lobbyists. After the elections, the Democrats promised to change that culture and end the corruption.

Well, I hope they do better than they did on Thursday night. Lisa Meyers had a report on NBC last night describing a fundraising concert and party in Washington D.C. That in and of itself is not bad, but the details are not particularly good.
Democrats threw a $1,000-a-person fundraising concert in Washington Thursday night, with Hollywood celebrities, big donors and those lobbyists writing checks to re-elect Democrats.
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Congressional Republicans also had a pricey fundraiser with lobbyists after they assumed power 12 years ago.

But Democrats promised to be different.

"It sends a very mixed message to be on one hand saying that they're clamping down on lobbyists, but then raising money from those very same lobbyists that they say are part of the problem," says David Donnelly, an ethics reform advocate with Public Action Campaign Fund.

Democrats did get the new House to ban members from taking any gifts, meals or trips from lobbyists — which reform groups call an important first step.

But most reformers say those are not the most important tools lobbyist use to influence Congress.

"Lobbyists are most valuable to Congress by raising significant amounts of money for their re-election campaign," says Donnelly.

And neither party is doing anything to crack down on campaign money lobbyists give and raise. In fact, under the new rules, lobbyists can still wine and dine members of Congress as long as it's a campaign fundraiser.
(emphasis added). I recently ripped Newt Gingrich a new one for railing against corrupt campaign fundraising systems only to use and help perpetuate those systems once he gained real power, and I will do the same to Democrats if they do nothing to truly change the "culture of corruption."

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